Make sure before doing any tests that your vehicle is unladen and on a level surface.
Press down on each corner of the car in turn and make sure that the
car returns to its normal position when
releasing. The car should not continue to bounce on afterwards. This
would indicate worn shock absorbers. Also make sure that none of the
shock absorbers are seized preventing you from pushing down the car.
Turn the steering wheel fully to either side will expose the shock
absorbers where you check for any signs of leakage. Behind the spring
will be a shiny rod that goes inside the shock absorber. Check for
any fluid leakage on this rod, It should be dry and clean all the
way round. Also check that the springs are intact and the joints to
the car body and suspension are solid. For leaf spings check that
all the leaves are intact and that the axle is securely attached.
Check condition of all attachments such as spring eye mountings, bushes
Open the bonnet and check each side of the engine bay to where the
shock absorbers come up inside each wing. There can be no corrosion
around these areas and the retaining nut on top should show no signs
of corrosion, wear or damage.
Signs of wear to a shock absorber can also be shown in unusual wear
in the tread patterns of your tyres.